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(Un)Integrating Refugees: The Processes of Palestinian Resettlement in Brazil

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Sônia Cristina Hamid

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Universidade de Brasília

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This thesis explores the resettlement process of a group of just over 100 Palestinian refugees in Brazil via the “Solidarity Resettlement Program”. The majority of the members of this group lived in Iraq until Saddam Hussein’s regime fell, as a result of the United State’s military intervention in 2003. The destabilization of the region, because of the conflicts that ensued after the invasion, lead this group to flee to Jordan, where they were instead placed for nearly five years in the inhospitable and hastily-installed Ruweished refugee camp. Far from only focusing on the Palestinian refugees, this thesis analyzes the processes and the mediating transactions and relations, between various actors (the Brazilian state, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees-UNHCR, faith-based entities, Palestinian and Lebanese communities and organizations, civil society, and the refugees themselves), through which the resettlement was negotiated. It encompasses and spans the time from Ruweished camp until six months after the resettlement program concluded in Brazil and the representations that pervaded and permeated these processes. Through these analyses, this thesis seeks to both identify the different governmental practices and production of these Palestinians in local, national, and international contexts, as well as their agency within the regimes of power by which they were shaped. Whereas a central idea of this resettlement was the reach and scope of integration into Brazilian society, we aimed to focus on the technologies of production of “integrated subjects” and the ways in which the refugees appropriated, criticized, and subverted these proposed processes and ideas.

Key Words: Palestinian refugees; resettlement; integration; policy and humanitarianism



Sônia Cristina Hamid

Universidade de Brasília